SciTech students find animals 'breathtaking,' nervous system 'not a simple organ'

Each year, From left, Camp Verde High School students Cheyenne Reece, Michael Martin and Amanda Punkoney proudly show a few of the exhibits their class will have on display (Photos by Bill Helm)

Each year, From left, Camp Verde High School students Cheyenne Reece, Michael Martin and Amanda Punkoney proudly show a few of the exhibits their class will have on display (Photos by Bill Helm)

In humans, a properly rested heart should beat between 60 and 100 times each minute, a pace that Katrina Esparza calls "non-stop."

"There's lots to learn about the heart," the Camp Verde High School junior says. "When it stops, that's a problem."

Esparza and her cardio vascular team has prepared for its fellow students a presentation on the functions of the heart. Esparza, along with fellow juniors Marisa Presmyk, Sloane Diederich and Sarah Hood will deliver the topic during the school's annual SciTech Fair, one of the many Verde Valley SciTech Festival events.

Darren Gagnon, the school's biology teacher, has assembled four teams of students, each grouping to present a different topic to district students at this year's SciTech.

Not a simple organ

Besides the cardio vascular system, students will teach about the nervous system, zoology and microbiology.

"I wanted it to be really interactive this year," Gagnon says.

Says senior Lloyd Foreman, the nervous system presentation will not only be interactive, but also visually stimulating.

"We'll be putting together a PowerPoint presentation with optical illusions," Foreman says. "There will be a bunch of models of the brain, spine and eyes. And it explains what they do."

The brain, Foreman says, is not a simple organ. The purpose of his team's presentation is to provide a "basic understanding" of the organ.

"Our brains perceive things, the part that hold our memories, the parts that give us instinct, fight or flight," Foreman says.

Through the looking glass

Look at anything through a close-up device and it sure looks unusual. Not necessarily different, but atypical.

Microbiology - though not by definition - is looking at things up close and personal. Junior Kayla Hackett says that after she and her team of student micro biologists do their talk, "hopefully, they'll become interested in microbiology - and how differently things look up close."

Students will be able to look at not only bugs, but also skin cells during the demonstration.

"It's deeper than how to use the microscope," Hackett says. "They can look closer at the bugs, to see how they're structured. So many things you don't realize are there."

Natural habitat

Ask senior Cheyenne Reece, animals "find ways to evolve in the growing society of humans."

Reece - and juniors Michael Martin and Amanda Punkoney are the zoology team that will discuss the study of animals with their classmates.

Says Martin, animals are "breathtaking - [when] they are in their natural habitat without man messing with them."

This year's Camp Verde SciTech will be held April 7 at Camp Verde High School beginning at 10 a.m. Camp Verde High School is located at 1326 N. Montezuma Castle Highway.

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